Mah jawbox ay dishes–rescuer — Big Bosch!!

I am hurt, angry and want to forget that I am 50+ and stamp my feet like the youngest inner child trapped in me,

BlogAdda you have hurt me so terrible, that I shall go and eat some worms, big ones small ones wriggly wiggly one.

Don’t stare at me, okay I get it you are clueless about what inspired my ranting okay.

Remember the time when you are young and you have the next 20yrs years to build your dream life, I was there once. And my dream house had a wonderful kitchen right out of inside outside magazine with a Nikki-Tasha cooking range and unnamed brand of dishwasher and unnamed brand of washing machine.

When I set up my own house, I realized that there few tasks that can be akinned   to the torture of Sisyphus and housework was one of them an never ending cycle of the clean becoming soiled, the soiled having to be cleaned over and over , day after day.  I hate it…

“I do the dishes in my house, because nobody does them the way I do it,” this is a quote from either Bill Clinton or Bill Gates I am not sure, but I hate it…

Standing with sleeves rolled up and arms in the sink, is not how I like to end my day. My thoughts go round and round and it occurs to me, if I ever wrote a book, which I attempt every November it would of the stream of consciousness type and deal with an hour in the life of a woman, at the sink. I feel resentful at Mr. Tee and Jay as they plonk right in front of the TV while I am cleaning up the mess, of course nobody compels me to do it, but a sunk sink at 4am is not a welcome sight. More importantly I would be sitting on nails with dishes not done, or laundry not aired.

You know one of the wisest advice I received about kitchen chores came from my mother, “Do the dishes when you’re cooking” I visualize myself stacking the dishwasher as I cook.

I dream of buying that dishwasher. I have walked up to the IFB kitchen got the pictures and quotes, the only thing I get to hear…

“Oh! It is fine for us in US, even in US we don’t use it for all our dishes” one bay area house wife advices.

“Oh! It cannot be used for Indian cooking, our cooking is greasy” next NRI gyan.

“It does not really reduce work, you have to rinse the stuff and put it in,”  — it cannot more frustrating than washing dishes already washed by the maid, because, “she travels by bus and you do not know if she who she was sitting next to”

If this Bosch demo was open to people outside Mumbai=Bangalore- or Delhi, believe me I would apply, if I know the dates at Mumbai/Bangalore I would still manage after all with my family being Bangalore based and my in-laws from Mumbai not a bad deal.

I visualize myself, recording the demo, and then asking those questions I have the check list

  • Can I wash the wok in it?
  • Can I wash the milk vessel in it?
  • Can delay the onset, — that really does not matter, for I can run the dishwasher and set the clothes washer to start when it is done.
  • What happens if the power goes off in between
  • How much of water will it consume – can have the used water collecting at a place to recycle it?
  • How much of power will it take?
  • How much of floor area will it consume?

But (my nostrils flared, fists clenched, rib tightened) BlogAdda, you deprive me of a chance to present my case to my family.dishwasher 2

Think about this, everyone, wants to save the earth, but nobody wants to help mom do the dishes, and no matter how much I hate it, most discussions of feminism refuse address the question who does the dishes, yet at the end of the day those damn dishes are there in the sink and they have to be done!!

The only redeeming factor of the lack of a dishwasher is you get the ideal time with appropriate emotional backing to plan the perfect murder mystery  … how else would explain the juicy murders penned by Agatha Christie?

 

 

Paying Cinderella

Its Pay Time — Cinderella

All my commitments and targets are not really met, simply because a large chunk of my time goes in playing spider solitaire and I play solitaire whenever I have to get back into a working frame of mind. Housework I realized did eat into a chunk of my time.

of course I did reorganize my work schedule to optimize my efficiency but new challenges like travelling, in-laws moving in I was getting overwhelmed and having temper tantrums, fuelled by menopausal mood swings it was time to call the cavalry. Or rather hire help.

Growing up in feudal environment I never really I just took things and the domestic help for granted, as I did when I set up my own house. but the last 5yrs I have been without domestic help, (the family accused me of not being able to retain help), never mind I had one before, when my daughters were young it was full time help, and then part time.

Yet when people did show up for the job, I was clueless how to handle it, I actually sat down to figure out what was the core issue here, it was I did not want to someone to do my work, ironically on one hand I cribbed that my vagina did not come with a I’ll do the housework clause yet   I was reluctant to hire a maid.

The first step was for me to figure out what were my priorities I realized I wanted to have a house that was running, and lets me honest my command being obeyed I did not want to relegate command.

Once the decision to hire help was taken the next step was finding one, the best possible way to do it, is to seek help from our community and people we know. They are the most reliable way of finding good help. The people who introduce become referrals,  usually a person working in a friends house is looking for a job and that is how most people connect. We left the informal “wanted info” with the watchman, the milkman the fish and vegetable vendor.

We also looked up reliable placement agencies based on the recommendations online, while www.quikr.com did get back to us with their referrals quickly the vendors they referred to us did not get back.

When the chief of security got the person, he told us that she was Nepal and her background check and police verification was done, I was quite taken aback for never in my 50yrs of life have I heard of a background check done for domestic help since most of them came by referral through mutual friends or connects.  But now it is mandatory to have this check done.

Most of them asked me what are the jobs to be done, again I was a little agitated, then I realized that unless I told her what I expected she would not know. Before I spoke to the maid I had to create my check list

  • What are the working hours, day off etc.
  • What are the jobs that I delegate to her.
  • How do I want it executed.
  • What are the rules of the house regarding phone
  • What about food and tea.

Like I mentioned before in the feudal system we did not worry, it was assumed that food was taken care by the employer, sometimes the help took home left over too. so were medical expenses either the employer paid it outright or if it is was too large then it was an interest free loan. They were part of the family, I remember we got two of the girls working in our house educated, one learnt tailoring and “Delhi cooking” so she has a “Delhi durbar” a small wayside restaurant at a village where lot of truckers travel.  The other did her graduation is a pharmacists assistant. Another maid we had, was an impoverished semi-educated lady, so my parents got her daughter married and as per the Indian custom took care of her entire first delivary. Actually last month her daughter built a house and my mother sent in the gifts as if it were for her own daughter.

This kind of bonding may no longer be there, but yes we do need to give them respect and treat them the way we would like to be treated. When my last help quit I was quite upset because there was a bit of flare up with the other house she worked, then I realized I was so caught up with my illness that I had failed to recognize that the maid was diagnosed grade one cancer and had to go for therapy the other lady did recognize and support her. We need to be involved a little bit in their lives too.

Sometimes there might be work beyond the designated time, it should be adequately compensated for, how you do it is between the two of you, but it has to be acknowledged and dealt with.

Working with Mr. Roland Martins in the consumer awareness and women’s forum I was aware though domestic help is unorganized sector and it is rather not very practical to cover them, there are certain guidelines to be followed.  For example we never really discussed the medical expenses. I still don’t intend to.

Anyway, coming to the domestic workers in India, the Domestic Worker act was introduced in 2008 – it deals with registration, social security and welfare. This is applicable to both men and women, though as the presence of women is larger it becomes more significant to women. The state government governs its implementation as it is subjected to the state legislation.

Applicability:

  • Applicable to whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Not applicable to domestic workers who have immigrated for employment to any other country.
  • Employment of child is prohibited under any law for the time being in force as a domestic worker or for any such incidental or ancillary work.
  • Implementing authority under the act will be Central Advisory Committee, State Advisory Committee And District Board.

As per the act any person older than 18yrs, but less than 60yrs, and is engaged in any domestic work for not less than 90 days, in the preceding 12 months can be registered as a domestic worker under Section 16.

Any domestic worker registered under the Act who lives in the premises where workplace is situated is entitled to 10hrs of rest between the ending and recommencing of work. Also workers living in the house are entitled to 15 days paid leave annually. Section 22—Working Hours And Leave With Wages.

All registered domestic workers should be paid minimum wages as per the minimum wages act 1948

The Act has specific safety and Penalty provision (Section 23) in cases where any person knowingly sends, directs or takes any girl or woman domestic worker to any place for immoral purpose or a place where she is likely to be morally corrupted or in manner sexually exploited. Such a person can be subjected to imprisonment for a period of 6 months which may extend up to 7yrears, and fine up to 50,000 Rs. month or both

Any service provider who contravenes the provision of the act can be punished by 3 months imprisonment  or/and 2000/Rs. fine.  Obstructing the inspection by an authorized person or refusing co-operate faces the same penalty.

Anyone knowing abetting trafficking of domestic workers, faces a penalty of 3 -7 yrs imprisonment and/or Rs.2000/- as fine.

States like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have included domestic workers in the schedule employment with hourly, daily, monthly wages fixed by the states. For example Andhra has a minimum per hour wage as Rs.12.5/hours, Rs.107/day or Rs.2800/month.

With the passing of the Domestic Workers Act 2008, domestic workers are slated to receive pension, maternity benefits and paid leave that is a weekly off.  Workers living on premises are entitled to 15 days paid leave annually, and 15days otherwise throughout the year. Constituting a district board has been proposed to ensure the proper implementation of the act.

http://blog.localcircles.com/how-to-hire-and-retain-household-help/

No HouseWork Day

There are something’s akinned to Chinese torture.. Endless… repetitive and monotonous one of them is house work. The clean becomes soiled, the soiled is cleaned over and over again, dust-bunnies seem to invade the minute you take a shut eye. It is kind of like growing up never finished.

April 7th is that utopia day of #NoHouseworkDay, I put in the twitter status and went right back to making breakfast, maybe I should have called few friends and we should gone out for coffee, well instead, I am serving left-overs and finishing my outdoor work.

This holiday was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy, at Wellcat.com; you are permitted to do anything this day except doing house work. It feels good when the reason not do house work is legit.  Initially it was the National No Housework Day at Uncle Sam’s Land, now it has gone worldwide.

I was wondering how I could celebrate it

Maybe trade places, I lie in bed and get MrD to do all the housework…maybe book a slot at Relooking for a head massage. Maybe head to this club with a wonderful library and great coffee and camp for the day… no still better I plan to ignore the sunken sink, the grimy floor, and damp laundry, at the end of the day, if the item does not multiply, smell, catch fire or block the refrigerator door, turn a blind eye, apparently no one else cares, so why should you?

Happy No HouseWork day…

Shopping-Wise

saturday night market (4)Yup, I am talking economy of emotions, finance, and a feeling of empowerment.

I am just recuperating from listening to a whining session of how things are expensive, how her then separated now deceased husband has left her stranded, honestly I find it difficult to be considerate here, if your bank balance is 1000/- you need to buy food, and I don’t see the logic in blowing up 750/- for inner wear. Maybe I am being insensitive here, but I think it is essential stop playing victim and equip ourselves to face the situation.

The choice of Jaywalking to the mall or creating peace is with us. it is great to Declutter homes and lives.

My mom worked on a monthly budget, while grandma worked on a weekly one,  the menu would be roughly drawn for the month. Now that my mom is seventy-two and sometimes does not like going out to shop, I do it online with her, again have just tweaked her rules,

  • Plan your meals, before going to the grocery store, she is particular even online we use grocery store only… I do cheat and peak at amazon.in or homeshoppe18.in, but by and large we go to Bigbasket.com or other grocery store.
  • Clean the refrigerator and check stock before making your list.
  • Shop with a shopping list, this is kind of the best financial friend. It produces focused shoppers and stops us from mindless browsing which eats into our time.
  • To compare prices, the catalogs and internet pop-ups render me cold, so I shut them all down and stick to two shops. Bigbasket and Amazon
  • There is no question of lugging kids, to the online market, that is one respite.
  • Discounts and sales do not really count if the purchase is made on credit card, as the interest rate eats up the saving. So any shopping, particularly books and artefacts, or electronic gadgets here is what I dosaturday night market (1)
    • Do I need your?
    • Do i love you?
    • Do I have a place for you?
    • How long before I fling you?
    • Do I have another one of you?
  • If cash on delivery option is available I use the cash on delivery option as it allows me to account for it immediately, if I do use debit card I do an entry immediately.
  • I do a boogie fling before hitting the purchase button. No matter how enticing the offer I do not buy it unless I really need it. I use an online control journal, and I note the receipt immediately so I know how much I have spent.

I have also slotted a day in the week when I do the shopping, for non grocery, like clothes, or electronics, or books. The grocery shopping once a month, two lists one for my mother and one for me.zense (2)

When it comes to major purchases we do look up user reviews, but again the information available is too vast. www.aspectwise.in is an interesting place to check out when you are buying electronic goods, you could actually go to the website and check it out. I tried choosing a mobile and it did work quite well. AspectWise also allows you to compare restaurants, hotels, home electronics.

Happy shopping stay economically healthy and empowered.

 

Walking Through An Open Plan House.

kunjur house 1
Traditional coastal house

Our friend Jairam Acharya, who is an astrologer at Parkala; (he is also the in-house astrologer for ETV and runs a shows with them.) Built a house at Percale, his nephew from Bombay had been every upset that Mamaji did have a big house, with lot of rooms but no bathrooms. Now we were a little amused because each room had an attached bath. For the little kid who came Bombay and was used to cloister spaces the large bathroom appeared like a room with an open bathing/toilet area.

Coming to think of it, before architects and architecture became a fad, the houses on the coast were built with lot of consideration, like the low slant roofing, with  a wooden false roof, that would have a particular leaf laid on it, I forgotten which one this kept the rooms cool.

Flooring was red, slate again it kept the floor cool.

kunjur house 2
inner courtyard

Plan of the house was also very interesting usually a square  and one entered the house through the Heggilu, , on one side of the hebbaligu would be the Bhavikatte or the well where one could wash the feet before entering the house.

The other areas were

Jagali – or open corridor, but it would be roofed usual pattern was open central courtyard that had medicinal plants, the tulasi, the space for the kids to play, to dry the food it was open and unroofed. Then was level one walking space of course roofed but it  was usually treated like a corridor to walk through it was not a personal space, then came the jagali with pillars and that would be the living space.

open plan house 1
My dream house

The Jagali near the Hebbagilu usually served as the official space where outsiders , officials  would interact.   Any food or drink to be served there would be impersonal and served by the service staff.

Rest of the jagali’s were open and people walked in and out, this is  lack of being cloistered is probably what makes the woman from southern India more social and less oppressed than her northern counterpart.  The farm hands, the domestic help came to this courtyard so did the younger women seeking the wisdom of the older ladies, young men who had to be advised  it was a more personal space,

Most houses had an easy-chair, and an arm chair not to mention a desk. In this space.

open house 1
GoodEarth Pattern Malhar

Parallel to this was the padsale (the nomenclature could be wrong it is ages since I used these) which was enclosed a place of privacy where people changed, after a bath the cupboards would be kept here; it was the place where newlyweds slept.

Then there was the bananthikone or a nearly dark room where someone who had just give birth would be housed. The Kottige, the Hatti these were various spaces.

The feel was we were part of nature, and the vast universe the feeling is amazing. Unfortunately we never appreciated it then.

Somewhere in 1950-60 I think compartmentalized home became a common theme, I remember some traditional homes  redesigning stuff, the standard, central hall, dinning bed room one and two to the left, kitchen and master bedroom to the right became the staple. 1980 brought the concept of rooms flowing into one another.

goodearth malar
pattern Malhar

Suddenly I see the re-emergence of the multi-utility spaces, https://housing.com  in a newsletter from only they call it open-plan homes now. Incidentally Goodearth (: www.goodearth.org.in ) is introducing Malhar patterns an eco-village with open-plan housing, if I were to evaluate those homes, to the compartmentalized flat I live in today,

  • On one hand I can visually connect living spaces in decor and aesthetics a great thing for a visual artist like me, but it is a war zone, since my family leaves a trail of destruction in every room they touch.
  • There are areas to hang art work, particularly the appliqué screen work I do, put plants to create spaces, but having to decide how much to keep and what to keep is a challenge.
  • When we grew up we would be left in the central courtyard a great place for us to play, it was open and lot of people keeping an eye, without mothers having to micro manage. Open plan houses replicate this space. A safe play area for kids within the parent’s vision without intruding.
  • Since the spaces were open we had lot of natural light, and breeze, we did not really bother with lighting the lamps or turning on the lights until late in the evening. At Malhar Patterns they have brought out this effect by doing away with non-load bearing walls.
  • The nicest part of those old homes was the kitchen view and the eating area, since the kitchen opened into the Jamal we sat at the jagli to eat and grandma would be cooking and conversing with us those who finished eating would throw away the banana leaf to the cows and clean up the eating space but they would continue sitting there to do whatever work they had do, albeit even homework. In contemporary time, a kitchen overlooking the dining and living spaces would mean more space when we entertain, otherwise less family time hogged by the television.

goodearth malar-2It is not that this great open courtyard life was all honky dory, I hated the lack of privacy, the  loud conversations between Grandma and Bhaggi used to the irritating, when the television arrived, I had no place to hide, and now with the mobiles it is a din!!

When it comes to entertaining I rather my guests did not see my dirty sink, and messy kitchen table all of which I can hide if there was a door.

Home floor plans have come a long way, and open floor plans I guess again depends on our lifestyle and priority, or maybe children growing up with open floor plans will turn out intrinsically learn to keep their space tidy and organized.

What is interesting is mobile technology and Knowledge work is allowing for the emergence of open plan-offices. There mixes of cubicles, workstations, private offices and co-workspaces and god knows what, our familiar jargon of Jagli and pasale is replaced by terms like Hoteling , alternate officing and Hotdesking.

images courtesy Google images.

 

 

Putting my home in a backpack?

clutter.jpg
image courtesy Google

Somewhere there has been the invasion of my physical space, the space that I call home it is as if, souls that are not at rest, the dark forces have made their home and my entire house is sagging by their weight. Then disaster struck, the painters came calling. When we had to pull the house around for the walls to be painted. I realized the junk we had collected. It was time to let go.

Yet letting has been such a power struggle. The thinks that I know need to go, but when my husband Mr.D says it becomes this huge boogie man who is there to play the power game.  And most of the clutter was nothing but physical manifestation of unmade decisions, the article I cut out in 1979, the recipe that I noted in 1978, I mean the prints faded they are no more relevant. Somewhere they are fuelled by procrastination.

The toughest thing to face has been, when it’s my time to go this has to stay behind the best thing then to do is to pack light. When people have moved on, and they are no more in our space, maybe it’s time to let their things go too. The wooden rack that Kittdoddamma gave me is not really needed, I cling and each time I have to clean it I cringe, not a pleasant way to remember a lovely woman. When Maya asked me if she could have the rack since I was not using it, and she needed it, very reluctantly I gave it away, it was then that I realized letting go didn’t mean I do not care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person I really have control is over me. Letting go just release the weight that was attached to my ankles.

CHAOS (2)
got to go

Maybe it’s the same about anything that has over stayed its welcome in any space. We are secure in the pond that we are, and change even it means cleaning up or organizing is scary. But unless one ventures out, the ocean, sea, will all be the mysterious boogie man. Holding on to something just because it is good for me, for now could be the very reason why I do not have something better…

Our surgery professor, Dr.Divaker Shenoy used to tell us, we are told that holding on, and hanging on are signs of great strength, but there are times when it takes more strength to know when to let go and then just amputate, you never know, you might learn to live without the limb or regenerate a new limb. Though it did sound stupid then, the logic does make sense.

CHAOS (3)
The big boogiebag.

Throwing that junk away, has made my house lighter, and definitely more aesthetic. How true the beautiful journey of today can only begin if we can learn to let go of yesterday. Maybe that’s what it’s all about, the winter the shivaratri, about learning from trees, who are experts letting to, that makes them so incredibly honest, throwing all those stored paper cuttings, and letters, somehow made me realize that key to worthiness was not in those paper cuttings or the crockery on my shelf, it was as if I could suddenly pick up my suitcase of pride, and board a flight to freedom…. this I know is my Shambala… find yours.

We all accumulate things we do not need to keep, as these are the soveneers of the past, but they are also obstructions in the way of our future. Many times we have clung on to many are useless and meaningless things these tend to pile up, and take up space in life. Letting go of this is scary… here’s what I did, I went into a meditative phase with self hypnosis and gave myself this suggestion

CHAOS (1)
To Keep or not to keep 

With less clutter, I will be able to focus more on what I really need and want in my life, I will be freeing space in mind and my life just like freeing space on the hard drive of a computer, valuable space can be used for what is important in life. I can imagine my life streamlined and clear with space around me and more time. I am now moving on and progressing. I have lost nothing because I have all my memories still in my mind, I can remember whenever I want to without having clutter around. I am more effective, productive and hence am able to progress in the direction that I want, to.

I remember reading a book long ago, that said, don’t keep the things you need to take and then decide the bag, decide the bag and then put the things in. preferably choose a backpack. Thats what I plan to do with my house.declutter 2

Coming back to the mundane true happiness for all, are the 3D’s

  • Declutter
  • Donate
  • Deduct– save money by claiming donation on your tax returns.

 

creating a serene home to invite comfort.

I am listening to my friend’s to client she is detailing her plans for carpets, curtains, she had images of bedspread material she had hung over a chair to see if she could live with it.  i wondered about her partner, and if she had done the same with him/her, drape the person over a chair for a statutory length of time, to see if she could live with him/her.  Looking at her partner, definitely male, she might have noticed that he did not really go with the surrounding she created. Or perhaps she did and knew that he would elegant fade to match.

Nasty thoughts asides, my friend says, homes are healing spaces, and if they do not heal then one needs to really take note of why it does not heal.  Here is sharing what I learnt from her,

Home is our oasis. So efforts have to be made to make it a welcoming sanctuary. An organized and comfortable home gives a clam effect, as well shelter from the chaos and clutter outside that is waiting to attack. According to my friend creating this nurturing space is not really difficult. Small changes according to her go a long way.

The most important thing according to her, is balancing the five senses, she was mentioning how some houses reek of the asafoetida seasoning that was used, while some had smelt of sweat.

Same with decor, some houses were stuffed with clutter, and sometimes ornate antiques are quite irritating too. That I could empathize with, there was a time when I was totally into ethnic chic and wanted to have a house in that format, now suddenly I am more comfortable with clean lines and minimalistic furniture.

Of course being an interior decorator she talks of soft lighting, soothing colours, like blue, purple and green that could make the space warm and inviting.  She was also talking of aromas. This is something that really gets me, to me the disinfectant odour is home. Yet I know for a while when oriflame had lavender night creams, and lavender fabric fragrance I really used to love.

My friend reckoned the sounds like wind chimes, running water cleanses the space too. Well, well, I guess it is time to pull out my flylady manual and start cleaning my act.

Home is the destination, for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire; it is time to create homes and not living spaces. The changes we make to our home are as unique as we are and lighting, furniture, fengshui or any ritual just help. It is about setting an intention to make our home comfortable, and nurturing.

Home that allows us to connect with our inner self, the external sactuary allows us axis to the beautiful sanctuary within us , a place of total calm, a connect to stillness, a temple of sacredness, peace, beauty , love and once we find this inner place, your true home, we can be at home anywhere, at anytime with anyone. This is a place where INFINITE possibilities exists.